Oct. 12 Jim Leyland pregame interview

Oct. 12 Jim Leyland pregame interview

Q. Why do you think Max Scherzer was able to raise his game to another level this year?

JIM LEYLAND:  I just think a little more experience and he got to where he could repeat his delivery mechanically on a more consistent basis. Had a curveball, another kind of show‑me weapon pitch. But basically because he kept his mechanics intact, for the most part. And he was able to do that consistently.

Q. What are you guys telling Jhonny Peralta in terms of playing leftfield here?

JIM LEYLAND:  We're not making too big a deal out of that. Everyone is making a big deal out of it. Heard somebody talking about the ladder. Carl Yastrzemski who played the ladder, he was one hell of a man. When it hits that ladder, I don't think any Red Sox, Tiger, Kansas City Royal or anyone else knows where it's going.

It is a little tricky to play the wall. And the Red Sox do that better because they're used to it. As far as getting carried away, talking about the ladder, that's ridiculous, nobody knows what it's going to do when it hits that thing. Just do the best you can with it.

Q. Torii Hunter was jokingly he feels like he's 28 years old. What has impressed you the most about a guy that's been around as long as he has, changed position over the years and done what he's managed to do?

JIM LEYLAND:  He's done very well on the field. He's obviously a tremendous athlete, tremendous guy. One of the toughest players I've ever managed. But what he's done on the field has been the biggest thing for us. He's gotten big hits, he's a good defender. Doesn't run quite as good as he used to. He's a very good player, and he's tough.

That's really why we signed him. When we signed him, we got exactly what we thought we were going to get. And he's done a terrific job. And I think this time of year a lot of the veteran players are a little older. They get a new life, it's a new breath of fresh air. And I'm sure that's the way Torii is feeling right now.

Q. When you talk about Torii being one of the toughest players you've managed, can you describe what you mean by that?

JIM LEYLAND:  Well, he's able to rise to the occasion, the big stage doesn't bother him. The bright lights don't bother him, and he knows how to grind out his at‑bats against good tough pitchers. He's smart enough to know that you can have three bad at‑bats, and the fourth might be the biggest one, and you might come through it. Just like Jackson who had a tough series so far against Oakland, he ended up getting a broken bat single that may have been the biggest hit of the series. Torii is able to do that very well.

Q. Do you think Scherzer's mental game or his confidence level has risen or gone up with the success he's had this year?

JIM LEYLAND:  I think he's one of those guys that it happens now and then, guys get on a roll. Whether it's the guy shooting 3‑pointers or hot field goal kicker or whatever it is. In sports guys get on a roll from time to time. And he's been a positive roll. He comes in relief the other day and ends up getting the win. After winning 22 games, he comes in and gets another one out of the bullpen. Sometimes guys get on a roll. And that's the type of year he's had.

Q. You've worked with Dave Dombrowski in a few places. It's been a lot of important trades. What is it about him that makes him as successful executive as he is?

JIM LEYLAND:  He's not afraid to take a prospect. I think if you look at ‑‑ I think it's remarkable, to be honest with you. If you look at 60 percent of our rotation, he wasn't afraid to trade a prospect. He does his homework. He's very thorough, he believes in his people, his scouts, opinions, and he makes tough decisions, and he's very good at it. When you've got 60 percent of your rotation, it's pretty good rotation. When you've got 60 percent of that by trades, that's impressive. It also means definitely that you're not afraid to trade a prospect.

Q. A lot has been made of the starting matchups in the series. Can you comment on how you see your respective bullpens matching up?

JIM LEYLAND:  Well, I don't know, I think it's pretty tight at the end of the game, I think. I think Benoit has done a terrific job. And they might have a little more depth, maybe. A little more ‑‑ maybe a slight edge in getting to that point, although I feel very comfortable with our bullpen.

I think this series, like most series, to be honest with you, everybody talks about the bullpen, but when you get in the short series, just like the other night, we didn't use our bullpen. I think this will be a starting pitching series, with the exception of the ninth inning, most likely. You're going to see Lester and Lackey and Peavy and those kind of guys.

Our guys are really good. And I think both managers are hoping that the bullpen, unless it's real late, is not as significant maybe. If our starters aren't good, we're not going to win this series, and probably the same for them, that's what I would think.

Q. How does the level of advance scouting for your club change in the postseason and if there is much of a difference, how does that impact your team?

JIM LEYLAND:  I think the postseason scouting is very good. I think that it's one of those situations where you have to sort out the information, what is usable and workable, and what is not. You normally get a lot of information. I think you have to be careful to dissect that and figure out what information you're getting is really prevalent and some of it is just cosmetic.

We know that ‑‑ certainly that Ellsbury is probably going to steal. We're aware of that. They've got three guys up top, they're probably going to try to push, we're very aware of that.

So I think you sort through that information and I think it's like anything else, you take what you like and you put it in your back pocket and you take what you don't think is going to be relevant to this series and you discard it.

But our scouts did a terrific job in Oakland and we met with our scouts yesterday about the Boston club. And they gave us a lot of good information. Most of it we were aware of. A few little things that ‑‑ little perks that we get from them that are good. But it still boils down to execution and playing the game. And that's usually the way it happens.

They know that Cabrera is a pretty good hitter and we know that Big Papi is a pretty good hitter. There's really no secrets this time of year. I don't think there will be any tricks. We expect them to push. They will figure we don't run at all, because we don't run. There's not a lot of secrets here.

Q. Scherzer, what did he show you with his relief work, did he show you anything special?

JIM LEYLAND:  He told me that he was not used to it. She showed me he wasn't quite used to it. He gave up a run. And it's a little different. I'm one manager that I've never had a lot of luck with that, bringing a starter out of the bullpen. Obviously I had to do it the other night. I felt like it was definitely the right move. But he gave up a run the first inning and had the bases loaded, nobody out the second inning. It's a little bit different.

Automatically everyone thinks, you've got this guy, put him out of the bullpen. It doesn't always work. The remarkable part about it was we left him in obviously with the bases loaded because he's a strikeout guy, and that's exactly what he did, he struck out two guys, and got a line drive out in the inning. But you could tell that he was a little unsettled because it's totally different than coming to the park and preparing for a start and going over your game plan and the whole ball of wax. They get out of sync a little bit.